Monday, April 12, 2010

Why we need the old Dons back

There was once a day when 'organized crime' simply meant a tight knit group of neighborhood strong men. They would run numbers and involve themselves in relatively minor rackets- no one really got screwed by these schemes and the strong men would simply 'take a cut off the top'. They were brutal men who wore suits and ties, took pride in their appearance, their traditions of family and brotherhood.

These strong men would host lavish community festivals and destroy any man who crossed them. But no one really had a reason to cross them and their brutality was reserved almost entirely to their own, other men within the same organization who had broken with tradition. If you had a problem in the community, you went to these guys and they would ether mediate a solution or implement a hard-nosed practical resolution.

(Video Caption: an old-school German Strong-Man of apparently high rank is being interviewed by a film crew about his efforts to revitalize the area, the money he put into it, the changes he made, the various clubs and shops he owns-he seems to own them all. He is rudely interrupted by some riff-raff talking non-sense. The Gentleman gives the riff-raff the opportunity to leave and when this is numbly declined, he does what any strong-man wanting to keep riff-raff of his block would do. )

These strong men had all the local cops and government officials paid off. Crime and Government are always inexorably linked. The more powerful the Government, the more widespread and organized the crime. Authority when it is localized facilitates localized crime (the strong men), authority when it is monolithic, facilitates monolithic crime. Those truths are part of the reason why minimal, self-limiting government is always best. There is something of an organized crime-government complex that is absolutely true in every case, anywhere you look where there is government. The differences between organized crime and government are surprisingly few and many people would argue that any State which derives its legitimacy from anything other than the sovereignty of the individual citizen, is a criminal entity in its self.

There was a point in time (or maybe this 'point; is actually even timeless), a point in American History that government authority became less local and more federal. Accordingly as Government authority become more federalized, so to did organized crime. The strong men in suits on the corner, for the most part, have been rounded up and put away. They are replaced by weak men in suits on Wall Street, a gang not so tough but simply shrewd and politically well connected. Want to see the actual historical process unfold before your eyes in news clips and video? Look no further than Rudy Giuliani s crusade against the mafia. He did no less than root out the Little Corruption of Strong Men to clear the way for Big Corruption by Weak Men.

These new Dons, the wall-street bankers and their gang, unlike their predecessors, can care less about their communities, about any kind of pride or tradition. Their "cut off the top", is the to the tune of nine trillion dollars. They are blindly committed to filling their own pockets with cash. Their buttonmen, their enforces, the thugs that carry out their orders and enforce their decrees are no longer the suit-wearing strongmen who open doors for old ladies and toss trouble-makers off the block, instead they now wear badges and black uniforms and put the old ladies in jail while doing everything they can to avoid offending the troublemakers on the block.

The depth and magnitude of the corruption and dishonor of the new organized crime cartel of bankers and big business executives is so great that I believe the American popular fascination with the "old school mobster" derives not from the old-school mobster as a celebration of vice and violence, but rather from the old-school mobster as a symbol of relative innocence.

One thing they, the new cartel, do not know that the old-schoolers do know- the thing that will be their ultimate undoing: The People instinctively recognize that some small degree of corruption is inevitable and is part of the price paid for clean, safe communities and good jobs, and order in the neighborhood. But once this degree of corruption passes a certain mark, once the communities are no longer clean, no longer safe, once the jobs are no longer good and once order is lost in the neighborhood, the people's tolerance of corruption ceases and they rise up to cast down their oppressors.

"No more Butchy, no more of this..."

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